Neil Brand's play, Seeing It Through (Radio 3, Sunday), considered the murky relations between art, politics and war, refracting them through a series of fragile relationships. Friendships crumbled, political allegiances wobbled, and once close siblings no longer quite understood one other.
It was rich, involving stuff, adding questions of gender equality — the play began with a suffragette throwing pig's blood at a politician — to a drama already busy with the issues of the day.
Set in 1914, the play reassessed the career of liberal politician Charles Masterman from the time of his appointment to the British War Propaganda Bureau. Michael Maloney, as Masterman, gave an engrossing portrayal of a resolutely fair and well-meaning figure left flailing in office as his political influence shrank. As it did so, his drinking increased, and in Brand's version of events, he was propped up (quite literally in one tender, funny scene, where he is marched around the room until he sobers up) by his assistant, Jean, played vividly by Clare Corbett. That she happened to be the blood-throwing feminist was a forgivable dramatic convenience in a play that otherwise dodged the obvious in favour of the thought-provoking.
by Elizabeth Mahoney,
5 November, 2007